Friday, 29 January 2010

IES Sabadell visits PIC (outreach activity)

Yesterday we had the visit of around 80 students and 5 professors from IES Sabadell to PIC installations. Their academic field based in Informatics ("Cicles formatius de grau mig/superior") made the tour to be exciting and full of questions. The visit, conducted by Dr. Josep Flix, started with two talks held in the IFAE Seminar Room (next to PIC). The first talk was entitled "The LHC and its 4 experiments: a data stream to understand the Big Bang" and was presented by Dra. Elisa Lanciotti, who is the LHCb contact at PIC. The students placed very interesting questions related to Physics and the techonology used on the LHC, during and after the talk. The level of curiosity was amazing! Maybe, in part related to the preparation sessions prior the visit the professors made and the comprenhesive Elisa's talk. Well after, Dr. Josep Flix presented "The use of Grid Computing by the LHC". He is currently the CMS contact at PIC and the CMS Facilities/Integration coordinator. The talk also raised questions from the attentive audience.

After the talks we made a visit to PIC installations, so they could see how a Computing Center is built and managed. In groups of 15 people we showed them first the real-time views of what's actually occurring on the Grid: the nice visualization of the WLCG grid activity on Google Earth, the ATLAS concurrent jobs running at all their Tiers, the CMS overall data transfer volumes, the LHCb job monitor display, and a few local monitoring plots, like the batch system and LAN/WAN usages.

Then, the visit to the Computing Area itself started: we showed them the different kind of disk pools we have installed, which covered the SUN X4500 (we opened one, so they could see how disks are installed and can be easily replaced) and the new powerful DDN system that offers 2 PBs of disk space; our computational power based on brand new HP Blade systems; plus the two tape robots we have at PIC (around 3 PBs of data stored) and which are the tapes available on the market and how we use them. The students were impressed as well on the WAN and LAN capabilities, the latest improved with the acquisition of two new 10 Gbps switches.

So far, the morning was extremely fruiful. From PIC we want to thank the Professors (Gregorio, Fernando, Lino, Alberto, Alexandra) for their dedication and motivation they offer to their students. They enjoyed the visit and want to repeat it with other students from the school in two months from now. We are happy to receive them again! ;)